Becky Donaldson | Head of Maths
Since joining the Mathematics Mastery partnership four years ago, the biggest impact of all has been on the quality of mathematics produced by my students – at all attainment levels.
My students relish the level of depth and challenge in their maths lessons. After a Year 7 lesson on subtraction (which could seem so basic, but was in fact really probing and required them to think deeply) I was thrilled when one student said, “I found this lesson fun but hard – my brain really hurts!”
Having really high expectations of their use of mathematical language has meant we’ve been able to divert students away from some of the ‘traps’ and misconceptions that can easily develop. For example, being really clear about the use of the equals sign in their number and area work in Year 7, meant they handled solving equations with relative ease in Year 8.
The cumulative nature of the curriculum is a huge strength. We’ve felt confident enough to move on to new learning in algebra without having to re-teach the basics. Students truly understand core concepts and connect areas of maths together. This level of fluency really helps when problem-solving.
I love the programme’s emphasis on teachers doing the maths, and collaborating within a department. Whether it’s in a Mathematics Mastery training session or part of a Departmental Workshop. It’s really helped to develop my own subject knowledge. There are topics I hated at school that I can really see the joy in now, mainly due to my own deeper understanding.
It’s not until I speak to colleagues from other schools that I realise how rare it can be to have a group of teachers who are so willing to get stuck in, do maths – and make mistakes – together.
The programme has really developed our team planning skills and we’re now very open about subject knowledge. We dedicate time to learning together and addressing areas where teachers lack confidence.
The Mathematics Mastery team are always on hand to share their wisdom. As a very new Head of Department, they were brilliant at answering any questions I had. It has been very reassuring to have a team with such varied and extensive experience to bounce ideas off.
It’s also been very valuable to work with a team who have a really clear vision about what great maths education looks like, without being prescriptive about what actually happens in the classroom. It’s given our team a lot of freedom to take the Mathematics principles and embed them in a way that really works for our school.
Then contact our friendly partnerships team who will be happy to talk you through the programmes and help you decide on the right approach for your school.
As teachers ourselves, we understand how extraordinarily difficult this period has been for all schools. We have made some important changes to our mastery programmes this year to help support you in the months ahead.